We had a very good night in bed at 8pm as we were all shattered , he was taken out at 3am for the toilet and then slept until 06.45am.
Dembe is really starting to change, I swear he is bigger than he was three days ago! Today we heard his first ever growl and bark. He caught sight of his reflection in a glass door and thought he would let it know who was boss. Despite me being stuck in bed with a migraine at the time I did chuckle. He also gets very frustrated with not being able to reach into his toy box so that gets barked at too!
Whilst I was stuck in bed Jay had to supervise Dembe alone for the first time. I came too as I had been sleeping, as Jay came up the stairs. I was fully expecting Dembe to be put on the bed with me whilst Jay used the bathroom. However the bathroom door closed and I didn’t get Dembe. When Jay emerged I asked him if he had taken Dembe with him, no he replied I have shut him in his cage, he is happily playing with his toys. I told Jay when he opened the door to reward Dembe with a small bit of roast beef. Dembe goes crazy for roast beef, he has worked out that the roast beef is kept in the fridge and if he is in the kitchen when the fridge is opened he sits bolt upright waiting to see if anything is coming his way. At the moment we are just using this treat for crate training as we want a super special treat for this.
Dembe’s character is emerging more and more. Today whilst Jay was fitting a baby gate Dembe strolled up and then stole the screwdriver out of his hand. To get it back roast beef had to be used! The only time roast beef has been used for anything other than crate training.
We have had a couple of accidents in the house today. Mainly because he was doing so well we got complacent. We have been back on it ever since as we were disappointed to have let him down. However he keeps throwing us as initially he would run to the back door to keep us on our toes he now also runs to the front door, which means he has to be carried to the back door. We think its because it has the only bit of carpet in the whole of the downstairs in front of it and it still contains the scent of our previous dogs. He is probably just marking his territory. Thankfully its all been cleaned and now we just watch his tail when he is over by the front door. He has a very rhythmic tail movement when he is about to go to the toilet that is completely different to his other tail movements. He’d be a rubbish poker player!
Dembe has still been meeting lots of people and dogs. Nothing much seems to phase him.
For those of you new to me and Jay we are avid Emma Bridgewater Pottery collectors. When I found the Yellow Labrador mug on line I had to have it!
Tuesday 15th January
Today I have been feeling very low, I love Dembe with all my heart but I am really missing Frankie and Mollie ( I have missed Willow everyday since she passed away). Whats worse is I keep calling Dembe , Frankie which feels like a knife to the heart. I am angry that I am causing this pain to myself but I have been saying the name Frankie for 12 years and Dembe for just 4 days. As I have always said Dembe is very much an addition to our family not a replacement. He is a very different dog to any of the others we have owned in the past. All dogs have their own personalities and quirks, we are learning his.
Dembe has had a very busy day, he was awake from 5am and was a demon from the off. I am wondering who came in the night and stole my calm placid puppy and replaced him with Satan. He is biting everything, running around like a lunatic. He then had a sleep between 6am and 7am and then went off like a coiled spring again. At around 9.30am he took himself off to the kitchen and went to sleep on his dad’s slippers.
For the rest of the day he has been an angel, he met my best friend Ellie who brought him a lovely teddy bear. He also met 4 children who were fantastic with him as they have a fully grown Rotti called Maui, so a 8 week old puppy is nothing to them. He was playing tug of war with the girls plaits which brought about squeals of laughter. He was such a very good boy.
Today he discovered the joy of chasing a ball, so as he was loving careering through the lounge I decided to use the opportunity to get him to learn to fetch and retrieve. He cottoned on very quickly that if he gave me the ball back I would roll it along the floor again for him. I have also got him to master sit today and he will sit on command. He is so eager to learn and loves any fuss. His tail goes mental when you tell him he has been a good boy.
We also quickly went down the sea front today so that Dembe could experience some different sights and sounds.
For the first time we attached a lead to his collar, he believes this is just another chew toy. I can see he maybe a lead chewer like his Uncle Frankie so a metal lead will need to be purchased.
Wednesday 16th January
Today Dembe had his first trip to the vets for his puppy check, to ensure his jabs are compatible with what our veterinary surgery uses and to register his microchip number with them. Thankfully the jabs are compatible however out vet uses Lepto 4 not lepto 2 so he will have an extra jab to cover him for the 4 strains of leptospirosis ( Weils Disease). We want him to be covered as Jays favourite place to walk the dogs is on Woodbury common which at this time of year can be quite wet and boggy. So until he has been fully vaccinated it will be road walks once he is safe to do so.
We have been using this practice for at least 11 years and wouldn’t take any of our animals we have owned or own anywhere else. However this trip is a bit traumatic for both Jay and I. Both trips to the vets recently have been to have our elderly Weimaraners p.t.s, both out of the blue so there was no preparing ourselves for what happened.
We were totally overwhelmed by the surgery staffs kindness. A lady who worked there, who always loved Frankie had bought Dembe a welcome to your new home card and a purple Rhino Kong toy. It made me cry but they were happy tears and plus I was just really worked up with being there again so soon after losing Mollie and Frankie. We had made sure we arrived at the vets early so this lovely lady could have lots of puppy cuddles. However due to it being quite busy we ended up being there a lot longer than we had planned. Dembe was an absolute star, he never fussed or cried even though he was probably bored rigid being held and not allowed on the ground to play.
Whilst he was at the vets he had lots of cuddles with various members of staff. Which again is great for his socialisation. They all couldn’t believe the size of his feet and everyone keeps telling us what a big boy he will be. However I remember Frankie as a puppy and I can’t remember him ever being as small as our Dinky Dot Dembe, which obviously he was. Frankie had feet the size of side plates, well ok that maybe a slight exaggeration but they were huge. To me Dembe’s feet look in proportion to the rest of him but it will be interesting to see if he is a big Labrador as both his parents seemed quite small in comparison with Frankie and Mollie.
The rest of the day was spent quietly, I think the events of the last 2-3 weeks are beginning to catch up on us. Its very hard when you are grieving, you can either hide away from life and that would have broken both of us or you can just grab life with both hands and keep going.
Dembe is now sitting on command every time I ask him to and occasionally he is also giving me his paw when asked or not asked, whatever takes his fancy.
The baby gates have now been installed on my bedroom door and on the kitchen / lounge door. This meant Dembe had to be crated for a while to keep him safe whilst this was done. He did very well as it was the longest he had been crated for. He did cry a little towards the end but as soon as he saw me he stopped and he calmly came out. He was rewarded for being such a good boy with a tiny piece of roast beef.
He is such an affectionate boy, who divides his time equally between myself and Jay. Everyone who meets him falls in love with him.
Thursday 17th January
Today was the first day in ages we were totally free from visits or appointments. It has been enormous fun ensuring that Dembe is socialised with all our friends, their children and various different places / sounds but it is also bloody tiring.
The job for today was getting my mobility scooter looked at, on Sunday when we had been trying to adjust the seat height we had inadvertently jammed the bar so it wouldn’t move at all. We tried numerous things to free it but weren’t getting anywhere. I searched YouTube and various websites to no avail. I thought that we may have even broken it, so our hail Mary pass was to take it to a place that did repairs.
We travelled over to Devon Disability Collective in Marsh Barton, I didn’t ring as I thought we could either leave it there to get looked at or they would tell us it couldn’t be repaired. It was a good opportunity to get Dembe accustomed to longer car rides as we both have family that live over an hour away and we want to be able to visit them without a dog crying / barking in the car for the whole journey. Thankfully Dembe from the start has been brilliant in the car, most of the time he just sleeps.
Within a minute of Jay going into the building, he came back out again with a man that said he would try to help us. Five minutes later it was all fixed. A liberal coating of silicone lubricant and a hammer had prised the seat adjustment bar back out and now I would be able to use the mobility scooter whenever I wanted. I offered to pay the man for his time but he wouldn’t accept any payment, so Dembe gave him a cuddle instead.
Until Dembe I had never seen a dog smile in his sleep. Dembe seems to have a permanent grin on his chops whilst he snores….loudly. Every day I am a little more in love with him, which I didn’t think was possible. The change in Jay has been miraculous, obviously having Dembe doesn’t take the pain away but it makes it liveable. Jay’s colour has changed before we got Dembe he was an awful grey colour at times I thought he was going to die of a broken heart. I have never seen him look so ill. His mood has lifted also and he now wants to go back to work and see people. Before Dembe’s arrival and his socialisation training Jay was hiding away. It has been so good for him and me.
In the evenings Dembe likes to sleep on the sofa next to Jay. He does sleep in some very strange positions.
I also managed to do some sewing late Thursday afternoon. I hadn’t touched my machines for two weeks as I just couldn’t concentrate and didn’t want to. I needed to use the machine so that Dembe wouldn’t be frightened of the noise it made. The only thing that scared him today was the sound of the ironing board so we will need to ensure over the next few days it is put up and down a few times so he gets used to the noise.
To celebrate the fact that my mobility scooter was up and running we went down to the seafront again. This time I was able to ride alongside Jay and Dembe instead of being stuck on the bench as I had been earlier in the week. It was fantastic actually being able to take part properly rather than sitting on the side lines.
Today he met a 12 week old pug and they had a good sniff of each other. He also met his very first baby (well probably closer to a one year old) Dembe was fascinated as was the baby! He gave her lots of kisses and her face really beamed.
Friday 18th January
Today we needed to get out and about and run some errands so it was an excellent opportunity to get Dembe in the car again and being around lots of noise and people. I have now lost count how many people he has met. I know by Monday we were in the mid twenties. By the end of this week its probably going to be double that.
We had to pop into the vets to give them some paperwork. So this meant a lot of cuddles and attention from staff and clients. We then went to the town centre, this was the busiest environment Dembe had been in with traffic ( including lorries and buses) lots of people of all different ages and lots of dogs. Dembe took it all in his stride and he was exceptionally well behaved as he was held in Jays arms for close to an hour. We get stopped wherever we go with people wanting to ask about him and give him a cuddle. Everyone raves about how beautiful he is. I think he is too even though I am a little biased. I do think his nose will be out of joint when he has passed the cute puppy stage and the humans are no longer cooing over him!
We had two lots of visitors in the afternoon and unusually he was awake through both. Normally at least one lot of our visitors ends up disappointed as Dembe has crashed and is fast asleep. That is the life of a puppy though, like babies they can and do sleep a lot. Dembe got a bit over excited this afternoon as he was chasing after a 3 year old. He found that enormous fun and then he started bombing around the house without chasing anyone. He was well and truly hyped up by the time our second visitors arrived with their 12 week old Cockerpoo. Which despite being 3 weeks older than Dembe was less than half his size and probably less than half his weight.
Dembe was up for a good game of rough and tumble as he had obviously had his litter mates to play with who were all the same sort of size he was. The Cockerpoo was having none of it and spent most of the visit either in her owners arms or trying to get in her owners arms. Being a Labrador all Dembe wanted to do was chase and let off some steam, we had hoped that they would play nicely together and run around the house. The Cockerpoo was very timid and found Dembe just overwhelming. Such a shame as I would have loved to see him burn some of his energy up.
Dembe is obsessed with anything that smells of his Dad, he likes to sleep on his daddy’s slippers and when Jay washed his bed linen today Dembe saw a chance to ensure he was immersed in the smell.
Saturday 19th January
The day got off to a cracking start with me managing to take my evening medications instead of my morning medications first thing. That left me feeling quite spaced out and drunk for a few hours this morning. After several coffees it did seem to get better and we managed to get out to Pets at home over in Exeter – where I used my mobility scooter. Again I am not receiving any financial reward etc for mentioning them just to make it clear. We went to the Exeter one as the aisles are bigger and I was less likely to trash the place. Dembe had out grown his puppy collar and needed his first big boys collar. It was also another good opportunity to go out in the car.
We didn’t even get into the shop before Jay and Dembe were stopped by his adoring fans. He is so good and when the ladies are cooing over him ( Dembe obviously) he always managed to give one of them a kiss which melts their hearts even more. Dembe got to meet another baby in the store, who was fascinated by him, he gently kissed her fingers and she stroked his ears. It amazes me that he will play rough on occasion with Jay and I but when dealing with children and babies he is very gentle.
We took Dembe all over the shop. We showed him the rabbits and the guinea pigs, he wasn’t bothered. Although I would imagine that it would be a different ball game should he have been allowed to be on the floor with them. He is obsessed with breaking the necks of all his cuddly toys, everything gets picked up by the throat and then shook. Even his tiny comfort blanket with the teddy bear on that came from the breeder gets tossed around!
He was however fascinated by the fish, which is quite apt as Labradors were originally bred to retrieve fish. He was staring at them through the glass and looked as if he could just jump straight in and swim alongside them. His little brow was furrowed with concentration.
This afternoon we had some more visitors and Imogen got to meet Dembe for the first time. She fell in love with him. Leanne and Liam were surprised at just how much he has grown over the last week. He looks less puppy like and more miniature dog. Last week he couldn’t get into his toy box, this week he can pull it over tip everything out of it and then crawl inside it. He has also managed to jump down from the sofa once, I had left him asleep and gone into the kitchen, within seconds I heard a thump and he was walking into the kitchen. He is now desperate to get onto the sofas under his own steam. He is attempting run ups in the hope it gives him enough of a chance to get up but so far it hasn’t worked. Thankfully at the moment he is staying on my bed at night and not wandering around the bedroom. It has been puppy proofed if he does, I mean he is going to at some point. For the moment though he is quite happy to snuggle with me.
Today I had him showing off his sit and paw to our visitors. I am really excited for tomorrow as we are going to a dear friends house and he hasn’t seen him since last Saturday. It will be the first house Dembe has been to, so there is also the worry that he will have an accident!
Imogen took some lovely photos of him today
Sunday 20th January
Wow its been a day of firsts today. Dembe ate his full amount of food at breakfast this morning. We had been struggling to get him to eat the full 90g portion, so had been giving him less in the morning and adding the rest between his lunch and dinner. This morning however he scoffed his 70g and came looking for more. Hopeful he would eat it I added the left over 20g and that was scoffed as well. I have been panicking that he wasn’t eating all of his breakfast, even though he was getting his full quota of food for the day. He must be having another growth spurt at he polished off his lunch today in the quickest time ever.
Another first was going into a strange house. We visited our dear friend Paul today, who met Dembe last Saturday and has been smitten ever since. Paul’s house was fully carpeted so I was a bit panicked that Dembe may have an accident, however with careful monitoring we were able to avoid accidents and Dembe was more than happy to show off his toilet training skills. He went out for 4 wee’s and a poop during our 90 minute visit.
Normally Dembe is very active between wake up and about 9.30am, then crashes for a few hours and sleeps. Today he has been on the go from the moment he got up. We could see he was getting tired at Paul’s house but he just wouldn’t give in to it. He was having too much fun playing with his ball and toys and running around like a loon. When we got into the car, he settled immediately and went to sleep. Jay popped into the shop as we needed some supplies, Dembe slept through it all, even when Imogen jumped into the car and had a chat with me, he just continued to sleep.
This afternoon Dembe had a visit from Bev and Harry. He was spoilt rotten by them and had a whole goodie bag full of treats and new toys. This dog must be the most spoilt on the planet! He received a toy from Imogen on Saturday. Our friends have truly been wonderful and have made a real fuss of him. Dembe was quite active during their visit as I was worried he would sleep through it after wearing himself out at his Uncle Paul’s in the morning.
He has been really hungry all day polishing his meals off within minutes today, where as he has been fannying about the last 9 days when eating and we had to keep getting him to return to his bowl. He is shattered now and is fast asleep next to his dad on the sofa.
He hasn’t barked this much the whole time he has been here. His new glow in the dark ball was winding him up. Thanks Bev and Harry that gave us such a good laugh.